Equality & Diversity Policy

1. Introduction

1.1 Orkney Drugs Dog (ODD) is committed to promoting an environment of respect and understanding, encouraging diversity and eliminating discrimination by providing equality of opportunity for all. There will be a consistent approach in promoting equality and diversity across all areas within the organisation.

1.2 All employees are required to comply with this Policy. This Policy also covers discrimination by and towards members of the public, board members, contractors and staff from other agencies. ODD opposes all forms of unlawful discrimination in relation to employment.

2. Background

2.1 Tackling inequality is not something new. UK Governments have been addressing equality and diversity issues for many years, and although progress has been made, inequalities still exist in Scotland and throughout the UK. As the Government continues to tackle discrimination, promote equality, address inequalities and inconsistencies that were present in the previous discrimination legislation, the Equality Act 2010 was introduced. This saw previous discrimination legislation abolished and replaced with one single piece of legislation. This Policy will be compliant with the current legislation and promote a culture of dignity and respect for all.

2.2 Lack of equal opportunities is not only a serious moral issue but also has a significant impact on business performance. Studies have shown that high levels of motivation are achieved in an environment of respect and fairness. ODD will aim to ensure that all employees and customers will be treated with fairness and respect and not be discriminated against on the grounds of marriage & civil partnership, sex, race, disability, age, religion or belief, gender reassignment, pregnancy & maternity and sexual orientation, or disadvantaged by any conditions or requirements which cannot be shown to be relevant to performance. ODD will therefore ensure all employees and customers are provided with equality of opportunity.

2.3 The Equality Act 2010 deals with discrimination law.

3. Definitions

3.1 Diversity; is about valuing individual differences. ODD is committed to valuing and managing peoples differences to enable all employees to contribute and realise their full potential. ODD recognises that people with different backgrounds, skills, attitudes and experiences can bring fresh ideas and perceptions that respect all clients and will benefit ODD.

3.2 Equality; is making sure people are treated fairly and given the same opportunity to take part in the life and work of our community. Equality is not about treating everyone in the same way, but recognises that their needs are met in different ways. Equality focuses on the 9 protected characteristics covered by the law (see 3.3).

3.3 Protected Characteristics
The grounds on which discrimination claims can be made ie age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage & civil partnership, pregnancy & maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

3.4 Direct Discrimination; is treating someone less favourably than others based on a protected characteristic.

3.5 Indirect Discrimination; a policy, practice, procedure, provision or criteria that applies to everyone in the same way but might disadvantage a particular group, and which cannot be objectively justified in relation to the job.

3.6 Harassment; unwanted behaviour related to a protected characteristic that violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. The intention of the perpetrator is irrelevant, it is the impact on the individual which determines whether harassment has taken place.

3.7 Victimisation; treating someone less favourably and discriminating against them because they have pursued or intend to pursue their rights relating to alleged discrimination, complained about the behaviour of someone harassing them or given evidence in someone else’s discrimination compliant.

3.8 Positive Action; addressing imbalances in the workforce by encouraging members of under represented groups to apply for jobs. Positive action may be applicable in setting equality targets. No quotas will be set by ODD but equality targets may be set to encourage people from a particular group or groups to apply for a vacancy in ODD in comparison to the local community where they are under represented.

3.9 Failure to make Reasonable Adjustments; where arrangements disadvantage an individual because of a disability and measures to overcome such barriers are not undertaken eg, physical environment, attitudes, policies and/or procedures.

3.10 Associated Discrimination; discrimination against a person because they have an association with someone with a particular protected characteristic. For example, a non disabled person is discriminated against because of the action they need to take care of a disabled dependent.

3.11 Perceptive Discrimination; discrimination against a person because the discriminator thinks the person possesses that characteristic. For example, a person is not shortlisted for a job on the basis that the recruiter assumes the applicant does not have the correct VISA to work in the UK as they have a foreign looking name on their application form.

3.12 Employees; all permanent, temporary or fixed term staff and agency workers.

3.13 Stakeholders; contractors, consultants, customers, service users, other outside agency workers.

4. Aims

4.1 The aims of this Equality and Diversity Policy are as follows:-

4.1.1 Ensure integration with equality and diversity practices into everything ODD does and ensure that employees are treated with fairness and respect by each other and extend this to/from members of the public, committee members and contractors.

4.1.2 Require ODD to implement fair and just employment practices to ensure staff are recruited and employees promoted solely on the basis of their own merit, experience, ability and potential. This applies throughout the entire duration of employment as all decisions will be based on only relevant merits.

4.1.3 Provide an environment appropriate to the needs of those from all walks of life, and offer a culture that respects and values each others differences and promotes dignity, equality and diversity.

5. Implementation & Responsibility

5.1 We recognise that the existence of an Equality & Diversity Policy in itself does not guarantee equality in access, opportunity or outcome, and that the success of the Policy depends on the degree of commitment in practice by all members of our staff and of the Board of Trustees.

5.2 The Chair has overall responsibility for ensuring that the Policy is implemented in every area of our activities.

5.3 The Chair is responsible for the day-to-day implementation of this Policy, for ensuring that all staff implement it, and for ensuring that our policies, procedures, publications, information material (including online), advertisements and application forms do not contain any statements or conditions which would breach this Policy.

5.4 The Chair will ensure that all new employees and Board of Trustees members are made aware of this Policy during the induction process. The Policy will be widely promoted and integrated into all other policies and procedures within ODD. Copies of the Policy will also be freely available and displayed in ODD’s offices.

5.5 Appropriate training and guidance will be available to promote equality and diversity among existing staff to enable them to understand and identify discrimination, and to take action to counter it.

5.6 This Policy applies to everyone in ODD and all have a responsibility to be alert to discriminatory behaviours and practices should they occur. Unacceptable behaviour and practices must not occur, however if or when a situation arises it will be dealt with immediately, as inaction is not an option. Breaches of the Equality and Diversity Policy will be regarded as misconduct and will lead to disciplinary action which may result in dismissal.

6. Membership & Board Structure

6.1 We will seek to ensure that membership of ODD and participation in our affairs are open to all irrespective of any of the protected characteristics detailed in para 3.3.

6.2 Further details can be found in our Membership Policy and Procedures and Constitution.

7. Recruitment & Selection

7.1 All recruitment decisions will be based entirely on the merits and abilities of candidates alone and no other criteria will be used. In order to achieve this, equality and diversity practices will be integrated into every stage of the recruitment and selection process.

7.2 A fair recruitment process will remove barriers to the employment of people of different backgrounds. This will enable the organisation to recruit from the widest pool of talent, potentially raising the standard of their intake and therefore increasing the opportunity of a more diverse workforce which reflects the community it is serving. A more diverse workforce should improve the organisation’s service delivery, as it will include staff with more knowledge and experience about meeting the needs and aspirations of service users and potential service users.

7.3 Any advertisement for a vacancy within ODD will state that an Equality and Diversity Policy is in place. The information contained in the advert and all vacancy literature will be clear and accurate to attract the most appropriate candidates from all groups across society, to allow them to decide their own suitability for the vacancy and whether they wish to proceed with applying. Alternative formats will be made available upon request. ODD will ensure that all applications have clear instructions for completion and are free from personal questions that are not relevant to the vacancy and that may lead to discrimination.

7.4 ODD will ensure all staff involved at any stage in the recruitment and selection process receive equality and diversity awareness training. This will ensure that those involved in the recruitment process will not discriminate either knowingly or unknowingly by asking any questions which may lead to discrimination.

8. Terms & Conditions of Employment

8.1 All contracts of employment will be issued in accordance with the job role and not the job holder. Employees will not receive less favourable terms and conditions for any reason other than relating specifically to the job role and the grade it attracts.

9. Board & Staff Training and Development

9.1 Equality and diversity will apply throughout all training activities and resources. Training and development opportunities will be given to all employees according to their job role. It is crucial that all employees are able to participate and enjoy any training opportunities or activities without discrimination or fear of harassment. We will endeavour to provide alternative provisions where certain groups or individuals cannot take up such opportunities eg because of accessibility of the venue or childcare responsibilities. Every attempt will be made to ensure learning materials will provide a positive image of people reinforcing an image and of equality of opportunity.

10. Redundancy Selection

10.1 Redundancy selection will be made according to the statutory requirements and in line with Terms and Conditions. Criteria will be discussed with the Trade Union and or nominated representatives. The criteria will be set out and will be objectively fair and consistent. This will ensure that employees selected for redundancy are selected according to the chosen selection criteria and not in any discriminatory way either indirectly or directly.

11. How to deal with Discrimination

11.1 Where an employee feels they have been discriminated against, victimised or harassed they should refer to ODD’s Grievance procedures within Terms & Conditions.

11.2 The right to be treated equally with dignity and respect extends to customers, outside contractors, Committee Members and other agencies whilst at work. ODD’s Statement of Respect (Appendix 1) reflects this. Anyone who feels they have been discriminated against by ODD can complain and the complaint will be investigated by ODD and appropriate action taken. Employees also have a right to complain if they feel they are been discriminated against by those not directly employed by ODD (eg customers or service providers). If a staff member or colleague feels that they are being discriminated against in the course of their working day from any of the above, again the Grievance Procedures within Terms & Conditions should be followed.

12. Monitoring & Review

12.1 This policy will be reviewed every 5 years and an entry will be maintained in ODD’s Policy Review Schedule to indicate this.

Statement Of Respect

This statement has been prepared in line with ODD’s Equality & Diversity Policy, a copy of which can be obtained on request from the office.

  • Our staff are here to help and will do this in a friendly and courteous manner
  • Our staff and customers are not expected to accept aggressive or abusive treatment
  • Any unacceptable behaviour will be taken very seriously and may be reported to the police

Thank you for your co-operation